||Technology in Australia 1788-1988
Table of Contents
I The First 100 Years 1788-1888
i Location of the Railway
iii Bridging and Tunnelling
iv Dams for Engine Water
v Locomotives and Rolling Stock
vi Signalling and Telecommunications
vii 1900/1988-The New Century
viii The Garratt Locomotive
ix Steam Locomotive Practice
x Motor Railcars
xii Electric Tramways
xiii Electric Railways - Direct Current
xiv Electric Railways - 25 kV ac
xv Diesel Traction
xvi Alignment and Track
III Motorised Vehicles
V Modern Shipping
VI Innovative Small Craft
OperationsOther areas of Australian research arising from the necessity of operating very long trains in the Pilbara, have involved the measurement and accurate simulation of intrain forces and the optimising of driving techniques (powering/coasting/braking); the monitoring and computer playback of locomotive equipment performance, called data logging, and the optimising of train operations through train performance prediction by computer simulation; and the interaction of the train, the signal system, and the humans in timetable proving.
Australian technology has moved very close to a situation where, in response to the overall pattern of train movements on a line with given characteristics, the train can be tracked and driven automatically to optimise line capacity (throughput of trains), energy efficiency, and life of equipment (maintenance cost). For suburban use a 'smart' system of semi-automatic driving is already in use in Adelaide wherein the on board computer 'learns' the particular service schedule, locates the train on the track, and optimises the power/cost/brake pattern in a display for the driver to follow.
The break-of-gauge that bedevilled Australian railways has been mastered by the development of uniform (standard 1435 mm) gauge routes linking all Australian capitals from 1937-1970 (Adelaide being finally connected in 1984), and the automation of bogie exchange under through-running wagons in a high throughput, custom-built plant at Dry Creek, Adelaide, opened in 1985.
The future challenges facing the railway engineer (whose system is already highly computerised) include not only the technological issues of what next to automate, or computerise. The human engineering problems of determining the appropriate level of human interface to preserve real challenge and job satisfaction for the operators, to avoid de-skilling, and the industrial relations issue of sharing the economic benefits with an inevitably smaller residue of staff, are a very real task for the railway of the
The age of steam and later diesel electric power commenced in Australia mid nineteenth century and for sixty years came to dominate freight and heavy haulage wherever rails were laid. By the turn of the century a vast network stretched from capital cities and key ports to provide Australia's rural producers with outlets to the world. Railway systems became synonymous with development and governments were under pressure to further expand the rail links.
The infant horseless carriage was originally no match for the established railway system, but as the technology improved, motorised vehicles and the improved roads which followed gave an extra dimension to transport and that was flexibility.
The next section deals with the rise of a motorised Australia and a readjustment in the share of goods and services being carried by each transport method. Competition gave rise to better transport and moves to specialisation, where each system had its own economic advantage.
People in Bright Sparcs - Macfarlane, Ian B.
© 1988 Print Edition pages 483 - 484, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher